To respond to a few questions in the forum (@metaverbal) and on Twitter, we wanted to provide more information on the Uniswap Grants Program (UGP). We are also adding this information to the Addendum of the Proposal at the Consensus Check.
What is UGP, and how do I find out more about it?
The Uniswap Grants Program started after going through a governance vote in December 2020 for an allocation of $1.5M in UNI intended to last 6 months. While the initial set of priorities for UGP was narrowly scoped as an MVP to seed the ecosystem of developers, it has since grown to encompass more, including governance research, community building and education, and core protocol work. Due to the crypto market bull run we were able to give $7M in grants over 18 months.
Grants researcher @sovereignsignal also recently put together a fantastic (independent) write-up on the history of the UGP here.
For more information on UGP’s past work and grantees check out the following links:
What does a successful UGP grant look like? What are some UGP success stories?
Grantees have done some incredible work over the past 1.5 years - for more information, check out our recent retrospective on UGP v0.1.
However, most UGP grantees are less than a year old. Just like with any product, it may take some time and several iterations for grant projects to develop traction and see adoption. The first version of Uniswap only worked for a single LP and ETH/ERC20 pair, and looked much different than the Uniswap we know and love today (still live here!). Hardat, too, took time to become what it is today - Nomic Labs received its first grant in 2018.
With that being said, not every grant will have the same outcome as a Uniswap or Hardhat. Not every grant will have runaway adoption, just like with any startup. Even when a project does not have the expected or intended impact, it can still have a positive impact on the ecosystem, bringing in new developers, users, and ideas.
Grantee success can be a range of impactful outcomes and, although we can’t pick favorites, some notable highlights are:
Serv.eth Discord support - a globally distributed team of 10 supporting the Uniswap Discord server all hours of every day. They have resolved over 15,000 community support tickets (and counting!), from helping users set up their first wallet and making their first trades, to identifying scammers and helping others retrieve funds.
GFX labs cross-chain governance research - The GFX team have been active Uniswap contributors since the beginning — they were one of the first LPs on v3! Their UGP-funded research led to the the Protocol’s first cross-chain governance proposal, the deployment of the 1bps fee tier on Polygon.
Chaos Labs TWAP hardhat plugin - One of Uniswap’s most under-appreciated innovations is the TWAP oracle, a core but admittedly complex DeFi primitive. Chaos Labs recognized the need for more robust tooling and documentation to make integrating TWAPs more accessible. They created a Hardhat plugin so anyone can leverage its robust security and accurate price reporting.
Scopelift Seatbelt & Flexible Voting- Scopelift productionised Seatbelt for governance testing. This test suite not only protects against unverified contracts, but also simulates proposals locally to ensure they deploy results properly. Additionally, their initial work on Flexible Voting would enable governance tokens locked in other protocols (for example, cUNI) to be leveraged for cross-protocol governance voting.
OmniAnalytics uniswappeR - The first R package created to interact with, quickly query, and trade on Uniswap, opening the door for more advanced data analyses. The Omni team went above and beyond their grant scope to deliver video tutorials, extensive documentation, and an easy dashboard generator for in-depth exploration of trade history, LP and price simulations under infinitely customizable conditions including slippage and liquidity depth.
TechEducators Solidity Bootcamp - As an established web2 bootcamp, the team behind ETHAnglia have built an open source Solidity Bootcamp to better usher web2 developers into web3 with a focus on building secure Ethereum dApps. Their target demographic reaches to underserved populations in the UK, offering scholarships and free mentorships. Through this work, they have received recognition and further support from the UK government through the Department for Works and Pensions.
How will UGP be improved within the UF?
Even with the success cases listed above, there are a number of ways that we’re excited to improve UGP for the benefit of the ecosystem.
Provide grants to universities and research institutions: Today, UGP is a multisig without a legal entity so we are unable sign contracts with or award grants to universities and academic research institutions, among others. As a legal entity, the UF would allow us to work with these organizations.
Diversify assets: No legal entity also means UGP could not diversify its assets out of UNI due to a lack of clarity around tax liability. This has made it impossible to scope out and provide larger and longer-term grants due to UNI price risk. The ability to diversify our assets will allow us to award these kinds of grants, for more ambitious and impactful projects.
Full-time well-compensated team: UGP v0.1 was able to pay its small group of contributors part-time (≤30 hours per week). With an entity and full budget, the UF will be able to hire a full-time and well-compensated team. We also want to recognize the fact that a few UGP team members would still work 40+ hour weeks and weekends, uncompensated, due to a love for this work!
Upscale all of UGP: With a formal entity, larger budget, and a full-time team, we would be able to improve our internal processes, from the applicant pipeline through feedback cycles, decisions, disbursements, and ongoing grantee management. We can do more in proactive outreach to fill our pipeline with fresh ideas and new teams. We could shine more of a spotlight on the impact grantees have had on the community. We will also be able to scale up our legal and accounting capabilities required for a more comprehensive grants program.